Serge Chaloff (November 24, 1923 – July 16, 1957) was an American jazz baritone saxophonist.
The son of Boston piano teachers Margaret and Julius Chaloff, he was among the few major jazz performers on his instrument. Until Chaloff the only prominent baritone player in jazz was Harry Carney of the Duke Ellington Orchestra. Originally influenced by Carney and Jack Washington of the Count Basie Orchestra, he was later greatly inspired by the bebop playing of Charlie Parker. Chaloff became the first major bebop baritonist and opened the way for others to follow.
The first bebop band Chaloff played with was Boyd Raeburn's short-lived big band. He first became well known as one of the "Four Brothers" reed section in Woody Herman's Second Herd. He also played with Georgie Auld, Jimmy Dorsey, and Count Basie, as well as recording as a leader.
Serge Chaloff's career was greatly limited by addiction to heroin. After successfully giving up drugs, he developed cancer of the spine which caused his early death.
- ^ Berendt, Joachim E The Jazz Book.
- ^ Wynn, Ron (1994), Ron Wynn, ed., All Music Guide to Jazz, M. Erlewine, V. Bogdanov, San Francisco: Miller Freeman, p. 143, ISBN 0-87930-308-5
For a list of Chaloff's recordings, vid. Vladimir Simosko, Serge Chaloff, an Appreciation and Discography, 3rd ed., rev., Montréal Vintage Music Society, 1991, ISBN 1-895002-06-0.